Langston Hughes By David Garcia
His Life • He was born February 1, 1902 and later died on May 22, 1967 he was an American poet, social activist, novelist, playwright, and columnist. He was one of the earliest innovators of the then-new literary art form jazz poetry. Hughes is best known for his work during the Harlem Renaissance. He famously wrote about the period that “the negro was in vogue” which was later paraphrased as “when Harlem was in vogue.”
Childhood Family • Both of Hughes' paternal and maternal great-grandmothers were African-American, his maternal great-grandfather was white and from Scottish descent. A paternal great-grandfather was of European Jewish descent. Hughes's maternal grandmother Mary Patterson was African-American, French, English and Native and from American descent. One of the first women to attend Oberlin College, she first married Lewis Sheridan Leary, also of mixed race. Lewis Sheridan Leary subsequently joined John Brown's Raid on Harper's Ferry in 1859 and died from his wounds.
Poems Cross My old man's a white old manAnd my old mother's black.If ever I cursed my white old manI take my curses back.If ever I cursed my black old motherAnd wished she were in hell,I'm sorry for that evil wishAnd now I wish her wellMy old man died in a fine big house.My ma died in a shack.I wonder were I'm going to die,Being neither white nor black? • As I Grew Older • It was a long time ago.I have almost forgotten my dream.But it was there then,In front of me,Bright like a sun--My dream.And then the wall rose,Rose slowly,Slowly,Between me and my dream.Rose until it touched the sky--The wall.Shadow.I am black.I lie down in the shadow.No longer the light of my dream before me,Above me.Only the thick wall.Only the shadow.My hands!My dark hands!Break through the wall!Find my dream!Help me to shatter this darkness,To smash this night,To break this shadowInto a thousand lights of sun,Into a thousand whirling dreamsOf sun!
Adulthood • During his time in England in the early 1920s, Hughes became part of the black expatriate community. In November 1924, Hughes returned to the U. S. to live with his mother in Washington, D.C. Hughes worked at various odd jobs before gaining a white-collar job in 1925 as a personal assistant to the historian Carter G. Woodson at the Association for the Study of African American Life and History. As the work demands limited his time for writing, Hughes quit the position to work as a busboy at the Wardman Park Hotel. There he encountered the poet Vachel Lindsay, with whom he shared some poems. Impressed with the poems, Lindsay publicized his discovery of a new black poet. By this time, Hughes's earlier work had been published in magazines and was about to be collected into his first book of poetry.
His Death • On May 22, 1967, Hughes died from complications after abdominal surgery, related to prostate cancer, at the age of 65. His ashes are interred beneath a floor medallion in the middle of the foyer in the Arthur Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture in Harlem. It is the entrance to an auditorium named for him. The design on the floor covering his ashes is an African cosmogram titled Rivers. The title is taken from his poem, “The Negro Speaks of Rivers” .Within the center of the cosmogram, above his ashes, is the line: “My soul has grown deep like the rivers.”
The End With A Video: • http://youtu.be/KyqwvC5s4n8